Friday, July 29, 2016

Captain Fracasse by Théophile Gautier

I've been waiting to read Théophile Gautier's 1863 novel, Captain Fracasse for some time, but I wanted to be in the mood. I'm glad I waited and I'm very glad I read it. The story is set in the reign of Louis XIII, sometime after 1630[1] in the Landes, Poitou and it's capital Poitiers, and Paris. 

The novel has a florid, highly romantic style that reminded me more of Edmund Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac (1897) than of the works of Dumas. Like reading or listening to Shakespeare, one must adjust perceptions to the style. I allowed myself to do that and found the story's romance to be surprisingly moving. 

From here on there are some minor spoilers. Be warned.  

The Spanish Captain

The beginning of the novel is picaresque with the Baron Sigognac traveling along with a troupe of actors and events and encounters occurring along the road. After the death of one of the actors, Sigognac adopts the stage persona of Captain Fracasse, an example of the Spanish Captain, a stock character from the Commedia dell'arte. The Baron hides his identity behind a mask. This ruse prefigures Sabatini's Scaramouche (1921), though unlike the wily Scaramouche, The bombastic, cowardly Fracasse is completely unlike his alter ego of the modest, brave, and skilled Baron Sigognac. Again like Scaramouche, there is a beautiful actress in the troupe who is in love with Sigognac a beautiful noblewoman above his station who he is in love with, at least at first, and a powerful and arrogant noble who has an unrevealed connection to Sigognac and who impedes the Baron's desired romance. But unlike Scaramouche, the story is focused completely on the romance and not at all on a quest for vengeance. There are several fights and a couple of good duels, however in general Sigognac is a nice guy who prefers not to kill his enemies and while the florid, over the top language and emotion of the romance most reminds of Rostand's Cyrano, this is a romance, but not a tragedy. Ultimately there is a fortuitous and happy ending.  

If you want to know more about the plot, the French Wikipedia for Le Capitaine Fracasse has far more information than does the English version. And if, like me, you don't really read French, you can get the gist by using Bing or Google to translate.

I unreservedly give Captain Fracasse 4 out of 4 stars.

[1] In Poitiers the acting troupe puts on a new play "entitled Lygdamon and Lydias" by Georges de Sucdery. Scudery, who Gautier tells us, was in the French Guards prior to becoming a poet. Since Scudery did not take up the pen until about 1630, the story must occur sometime after this date and since Louis XIII is mentioned in passing, we know it can't be later than 1643, the year Louis died.

The French Wikipedia site for the novel says the novel occurs between 1637 and 1643.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Press Release

14e Salon de la Carte Géographique Ancienne & du Livre de Voyage

Paris Map-Fair & Travel Books

Today I came across the above press release for the Paris Map & Travel Books Fair that was held last November. I wish I could have attended. But lack of a budget for that or a time machine to go 8 or 9 months into the past prevents my attendance. 
Fortunately the press release included copies of several very fine maps, including two 17th century maps of Paris that I had not previously seen. Both maps have quite a bit of detail. 
The description of the map shown above lists 3 dates: 1620, 1635, and 1655. I can't quite translate the description to figure out year the map is supposed to represent. The inclusion of a bridge next to the Louvre that looks like the wooden Ponte Rouge bridge that was built in 1632. That would date it post 1620. So my best guess for now is 1635. which puts it almost as close in time to 1624 as the 1615 map by Matthäus Merian the Elder and the very similar 1618 map by Claes Janszoon Visscher. 
Anyone with better translation skills and/or specialist knowledge about 17th century engraving and cartography is more than welcome to relieve my ignorance regarding this map or 17th century maps more generally..

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Fortuitous Internet Searches: Paris in the 17th Century

View of Paris

While searching for a city plan for Orleans, I stumbled across a great 3D view of Paris in 1620. For most city GM tasks, I like city plans and maps better, but a view like this is wonderful for giving the feel of being there and of helping you, or your players, to see what the characters in that time period saw. And since the Montgolfier and Wright brothers were still in the future, no one in the 17th century saw a city with the sort of overhead or aerial view that maps provide. 

If all I got out of this fortuitous search was this map, I'd be ecstatic. But it gets way better. In checking out the page where the view is from I found the Wikipedia site for Paris in the 17th Century. I've only just started browsing, but this is AMAZING!

Sections on Beggars, Charities, and Thieves; Craftsmen and corporations, Daily Life including street lighting, dining out, sports and game, and fireworks displays, Theater, Music, Ballet...the list goes on and on. Look at the the table of contents to get an idea of scope of information provided for running an RPG set in 17th century Parisc and notice the useful way the information is laid out. And if you aren't running an historical campaign, you can still use the information to add tons of detail to a fantasy city.


    1 Paris under Henry IV
    2 Paris under Louis XIII
    3 Paris under Louis XIV
        3.1 Turmoil and the Fronde
        3.2 "The new Rome"
    4 The city grows
    5 Parisians
        5.1 Beggars and the poor
        5.2 Charities - Renaudot and Vincent De Paul
        5.3 Thieves and the Courtyard of Miracles
    6 City government
    7 Industry and commerce
        7.1 Royal manufacturies
        7.2 Craftsmen and corporations
        7.3 Luxury goods
    8 Religion
    9 Daily life
        9.1 Public transportation
        9.2 Street lights
        9.3 Water
        9.4 Food and drink
        9.5 Cabarets
        9.6 Coffee and the first cafés
        9.7 Processions, carrousels and fireworks
        9.8 Sports and games
    10 Press
    11 Education
        11.1 Academies
        11.2 University
        11.3 Primary education
    12 Gardens and promenades
    13 Culture and the arts
        13.1 Literature
        13.2 Theater
        13.3 Comédie-Française
        13.4 Music and opera
        13.5 Ballet
        13.6 Architecture
        13.7 Painting and sculpture
    14 Chronology
    15 References
        15.1 Bibliography
        15.2 Notes and citations

If you have any interest in this time period...CHECK IT OUT!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Shopping mini-game by Telecanter

I really like a lot of the stuff that Telecanter does. I tend to be verbose while he takes a more pictorial perspective that I find refreshing and useful. He makes me think outside my box and yet his stuff is so often useful. 

Here he created a simple, mini-game for shopping. I like this because it reinforces that the game world is not one with Wall Marts and other mega-stores that allow people to buy off the rack, on the shelf items that give them almost exactly what they what, when they want it, in a variety of colors. In 1620s Europe many items will be tailor made, customized, or otherwise created for the purchaser. This also means they often will not be available right now. 

Here's a version of the table that I adapted for Honor+Intrigue.

EDIT: I was revising the table to adjust the sizes to be a bit more forgiving and I noticed that I had left the D12 out of the table headings.

Corrected and Revised Table

I'll have to consider how to adjust the table so that a national capital and large city like Paris has more items available and readily available then a provincial capital or town. One thought would be to tie the number of possible shopping attempts to the size of the town or city. So a small town might only allow you 1 roll. Essentially, after 1d4 hours, you've looked in all the tailor shops in that tiny town. Whereas a place like Paris might allow you a dozen or more shopping attempts, which means you may more easily get what you want, when you want it, at a price you mght afford in Paris...but it may take searching every neighborhood and suburb which will be time consuming. 

This would give shopping in Paris the potential to always be like the Scavenger Hunt adventure from Flashing Blades. I adapted that for Honor+Intrigue and the players really enjoyed it. It was a nice reintroduction for the PCs to Paris after the long diplomatic arc in the Netherlands (both Spanish and Dutch) that culminated in the PCs being some of the besieged during the Siege of Bergen-op-Zoom.A lighthearted adventure was just the thing after the blood, mud, and explosions of a siege.

Monday, July 25, 2016

A timely post on Pike Exercises

Pike Exercises by Michael Petard

Synchronicity is fun. While I was writing my last post, I struggled to find an image of pikeman that looked like something I could envision as the elite, house guards of a mad pretender or that had the color scheme matching the Valois coat of arms. I couldn't find anything very suitable.

Then yesterday when I posted, what do I see in my list of blogs but and update from Wars of Louis Quatorze with these great pictures of piqueirs (French Pikemen) by Michael Petard. Where was your fantastic art last week when I needed it, Monsieur Petard?

The pikeman on the right even has a bluish outfit. Conincidentally a couple of the PCs were nattering on (in their disguise as fops) about how much they just loved the helmets that guards were wearing. The fluffy plumes make that all seem to make sense.

Thank you Wars of Louis Quatorze and Michael Petard!

By the way, there appear to be quite a few other examples of Petard's art floating about the Internet. Definitely worth a look.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sentry Duty

Sentry Duty

In two previous posts I discussed the Hôtel d'Angoulême in Paris and the marching pace of soldiers in the black powder era. In this post I combine the two for a back of the envelope calculation of how long it takes the guards to walk sentry. This will be useful if the PCs decide to sneak through the garden.

Below is a map of the mansion with guards shown. The guards in the garden area of the mansion. The PCs were able to see the guards in the garden area of the mansion through the wrought iron fence that separates the mansion's gardens from the Rue des Francs-Bourgeois. Given the garden layout and the fact that the trees are not too large nor too close together, a simple rectangular loop seemed reasonable. This loop would allow the guards to pass close to all the entrances to the garden and from the garden to the mansion, with one exception--more on that later.

I decided that the guards would focus on preventing access to the house, by first preventing access to the garden. Thus they would physically inspect the two gates leading into the garden and those gates would be kept locked. In addition, they would physically inspect the door leading from the garden into the north wing of the house. Since that door is so close to an exterior gate, it provides the greatest vulnerability for rapid access to the house by any intruders. 

I decided the guards would slowly pace while on their rounds. I did this for several reasons, first they can't walk to fast or they might miss something they are supposed to spot. Second, in most movies the guards always pace slow enough so that some commando can run up behind them to take them out. And third, I wanted to allow a long enough time period between checks so it would be possible, but not trivial, for the PCs to climb walls or fences or pick locks without being spotted.
So the 2 sentries - I decided their would be two guards together rather than one because I was envisioning the villain as placing his mansion on a high state of alert and because his guards are veteran troops not ordinary regulars, nor militia or rabble - would pace their rounds. Similarly I decided the guards would make use of the watchtower to keep an eye on the two streets that border the mansion proper. This would alert them to any large force or mob coming their way. I also assumed that there was a possibility that guards in the house itself would now and then look out to check the outside. I assigned a probability of 1/3 that a guard would be in position to observe any outside action in view of the house. Of course they would still need to make a Savvy roll to spot anything that wasn't as obvious as a bonfire in the garden or a torch wielding mob. Since the garden sentries didn't pass the front door at the top of the garden stairs and since that landing gives a fairly commanding view of the garden, I placed another pair of guards there.
To time the pacing sentries, I used the scale that I created and physically measured the lenght of the rectangular route. I added an extra 4 seconds for a quick physical check - rattling the doorknob as it were - and another 4 seconds for a salute that the sentries would perform once per circuit. During the salute they would be visually checking for the 2 guards that stand on the landing at the top of the garden stairs outside the front door of the mansion. First I compared speeds to what I think of as a moderate walking speed of 3 mph. That's not fast, but not too leisurely. Next I compared the various marching paces listed in the post on marching. Finally, I settled on the slow march pace which gave a time of 3.5 minutes. Which was about what I was intuitively hoping for. Yeah realism. 

Finally I placed two other guard pairs on the opposite side of the house. The courtyard side gate that leads onto the rue Pavée is the less formal entrance, so it sees the most use. So I put a guard pair permanently at that gate. I then put a second pair in the upper courtyard as reinforcements and to guard the main secondary entrance to the mansion proper. This resulted in a total of 10 guards on watch at a time.

Lastly I created a reinforcement table. I did this for several reasons. First I couldn't find an actual plan for the mansion or its outbuildings. A table allows uncertainty in how long it takes for reinforcements without my having to track actual locations on a non-existent house plan. Second, Pawns in Honor+Intrigue are not much of a challenge for the PCs, all of whom are very skillful swordsmen so I wanted the ability to have lots of pawns eventually show up without troubling myself with exactly where they were.

For the reinforcements I wanted the likelihood of more guards arriving in any round to be good, but not automatic. I also wanted some reinforcements to definitely arrive after some number of rounds. I didn't want a situation where a string of bad die rolls on my part might see no reinforcements show up at all. That would be (a) dull and (b) unreasonable behavior for veteran guards. Since H+I uses d6s, I decided that I would roll 1d6 each round and if the die roll was less than or equal to the number of rounds since the last reinforcements appeared, then another 4 guards would arrive at the PC's location or at least where there was noise, light, etc. So after the first round of alarm, noise, etc. there was a 1/6 chance and each round the chance would increase until 4 guards arrived. Then the roll would reset to a 2/6 chance incrementing by 1 each round. 

I did this so that there would be a sense of urgency. If the PCs attracted attention they had better act quickly or soon all the guards would be attacking them. Also, if an alarm continues it seems reasonable that more and more guards will arrive rather than a slow and steady trickle. But, because I like challenges that are set so if the players come up with a good strategy or they roll really well or the bad guys roll really poorly, then victory is relatively easy and assured. I don't want the GM (i.e. me) to be able to just keep throwing more pawns at the PCs. Unlimited number of opponents is cheating (from my perspective as a GM). So I set the total number of guards at 40. That is a lot of guards if they all attacked at once. That number combined with their leaders and the villain would defeat and kill or capture the PCs (unless they ran really fasts). But that's fine since it is the job of the players to come up with a plan that doesn't involve fighting all the guards at the same time. And since 10 guards are on duty at any one time,with 40 guards that means they can easily stand watches constantly and there is even some slack in case the boss wants some guards to accompany him away from the mansion.
Here's how it comes out:

Guards at the Hôtel d'Angoulême
·         2 on sentry patrol in the garden;
·         2 at front door at top of garden stairs;
·         2 at back gate;
·         2 in upper courtyard or back door;
·         2 in watchtower.
·      Any disturbance has a chance to bring another 4 guards; roll 1d6 each round increasing the chance by 1 each round until reinforcements appear.
·         After the first group of reinforcements, reset the die roll to 2/6 and start again.
·         After the nth group of reinforcements arrives, reset the chance of a new group at n/6.
·         There are 40 guards total.
·         There are 2 guard officers; use the stats for the Army/Guard Lieutenant from page 169.

* While the guard with the halberd is armed like the guards in my scenario, he is actually a member of the Spanish Royal Guard, so the color/uniform is incorrect. The actual colors would match the coat of arms of the Duc d'Angoulême or that of his son, the Comte de Lauraguais. The son's coat of arms is shown at right.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Weather - Redux

 On the Generation of Weather

I just read Courtney Campbell's post over on Hack & Slash: On the Generation of Weather. I think that he and I think a lot alike about RPG weather. In the post he listed his requirements for weather generation.

  1. Must organically simulate weather. (Not sure organic is really the right word.)
  2. Require minimal bookkeeping.
  3. Fit on one page in a 4"x6" notebook.
I think the by organic he means that the weather fits a specific pattern for the region and season and that the weather has a degree of persistence, and often a gradual change from one type of weather to another, and when the change is not gradual, a recognizable pattern of change usually occurs. For example, in many places in the USA hot weather is frequently followed by movement of a front that causes a pressure drop, precipitation, and a drop in temperature.

If you haven't already, I suggest you click on the link and take a look at his sample weather table. It's an elegant way of doing what he wants.
The example he provides is for weather in a frozen wasteland, he wants the randomization to allow for consecutive, repeating weather. What I called persistence. Everywhere I've ever lived has some degree of weather persistence. Assuming tomorrows weather will be like today's weather is often correct. 
The way he has structured the weather table, weather is grouped and a change in weather will only move you so far, typically within the same weather grouping or to a lower or higher grouping on the table. By making sequential entries in the list have similar weather and by limiting the range of change by using a die e.g. d6 and a table with 3 x that many entries he gets persistent weather with (usually) gradual and predictable changes. Nice!

I hope he will post other weather tables he creates.

For even more on weather, here's a 3-part series on weather I did last summer. (What is it about July that makes people think about weather?)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Quick Update

Yesterday I said that my next post I would use the military marching pace to approximate the time it takes a sentry to go about his rounds in the garden of the Hôtel d'Angoulême. That post is done, but I'm going to wait until after my players have a chance to see if their friend is being held prisoner inside. On the off chance that they read the blog post, I don't want them to have some of the details beforehand. 

So instead here is a pretty picture...
 ...of Suzy May as Valentine D'Artagnan.

And this is relevant because (a) you don't see that many pictures of female musketeers and (b) my wife recently found a copy of the movie that this picture this is from, La Femme Musketeer, in the bargain bin. So I should get a chance to watch it sometime soon. If I've seen it already, I honestly can't remember it. After I watch it I'll do a review. It has an old Michael York and Johh Rhys Davies in it, so I am keeping my expectations low.

If I get really ambitious, I might stat out Valentine D'Artagnan in Honor+Intrigue.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Military March

Being interested in the military, but never having served, I spend some time reading to get a sense of what the military is like - which is even more important when the military I am interested in is from 400 years ago. I like a fair bit of realism in my gaming so when I wanted to know how fast a soldier marched, I did a little research. Fortunately Al Gore invented the Internet...or was that CERN? Or maybe ARPA? In any case, nowadays a little research is easy.

So for anyone who likes realism in their gaming...

Napoleonic Pace Step
(in ft)
ft/min mi/hr

British Light Infantry 140 2.5 350 3.98

Line Infantry 120 2.5 300 3.41

Highland Infantry 112 2.5 280 3.18

Slow March 60 2.5 150 1.70

Quick March: This is an instruction to begin marching at the Quick March speed with the left foot. The standard pace is 120 beats per minute with a 30-inch step, with variations for individual regiments, the pace given by the commander, and the speed of the band's rhythm: British light infantry and rifle regiments, for example, Quick March at 140 beats per minute, a legacy of their original role as highly mobile skirmishers. Highland regiments, which march to bagpipe music, march at 112 paces per minute.

For the US Marine Corps, the interval between ranks and files is both 40 inches. The light infantry version of the march is also used by the Spanish Legion during parades, as well as the Chasseurs of the French Army (Chasseurs alpins inclusive).

Slow March: This is a ceremonial pace, used for funeral marches and when a unit's colours are marched out in front of the troops. It is the iconic march step used in the French Foreign Legion. The standard pace is 60 paces per minute.

In my next post, I use the military marching pace to approximate the time it takes a sentry to go about his rounds in the garden of the Hôtel d'Angoulême.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Plan of the Hôtel d'Angoulême

So one of the PCs was captured by Henri de Valois, Comte de Lauraguay. Henri is the grandson of Charles IX of France. His father is the Duc de .Angoulême and the illegitimate son of Charles IX by his mistress Marie Touchet. Henri is mad. In the two usual senses of the word. He blames one of the PCs, the Seigneur de Chambre for the disappearance of Henri's witch. This made Henri angry. When Henri is angry his cruelty is uncontrolled. It's a flaw. (He's a villain; it's Honor+Intrigue, flaws are a thing.) And since Henri is crazy* mad, he devised a rather bizarre method of dealing with de Chambre. 

Not surprising, once the other PCs figured out that de Chambre was missing they set about finding and rescuing him. In the process, I had to figure out where family's house was in Paris. Since dad's a Duke, I assumed they would have a hôtel particulier, which is what the French call a Parisian mansion or grand private home in town. A quick search on Google and I found an entry for the Hôtel d'Angoulême-Lamoignon which is (it still exists) in the Marais district of the 4th arrondissement of Paris, number 24 rue Pavée which is at the corner of the rue Pavée and the rue des Francs-Bourgeois. 

However finding out exactly where that was on any of my usual period maps for Paris turned out to be more challenging than I thought. The address was helpful, but only if I could find which street on my map was the rue Pavée. Like many Parisian streets the name had changed a number of times and it also had a different name once it crossed the rue rue des Francs-Bourgeois. Sorting that out took some time. Fortunately, unlike some streets, the rue des Francs-Bourgeois still has the same name today. Even more fortunately, it begins at the Place des Vosges and runs west past the Hôtel d'Angoulême (the Lamoignon was added later after a change in ownership). In 1624, the Place des Vosges was called the Place Royale, and it was a fancy new area with townhouses for those who, while still rich, did not have an hôtel particulier to call home. 

I easily found some photos of the mansion, which was great. It even has a watchtower, which is a nice medieval touch. Apparently watchtowers were all the rage for medieval and renaissance mansions in Paris, but shortly before the 1620s a royal decree prohibited architectural features that, like this watchtower, overhung the street. So the fashion passed. But the presence and location of the watchtower will turn out to be important.

To locate the rue rue Pavée, I tried counting blocks from the Place de Vosges on Google Maps and matching those blocks to one of my Parisian maps. After maybe five minutes or so, I found what looked like a great site for some swashbuckling adventure.
The buildings with the yellow roof seemed to be in the right place and it had a big garden with towers. Also it looked like there was a big wrought iron garden gate, which would let the PCs scout out the gardens and the garden side of the house. I decided there was an alley between the Duke's hotel and the adjacent hotel. The players decided to use the alley to try to climb up a drain pipe.

There was only one problem. That's not the right house. It's not even the right block. By closely examining the modern Google Map and using street view to find the watchtower, I realized that the watchtower was on the southeast corner of the intersection of the rue Pavée and the rue des Francs-Bourgeois. This places the watchtower on the northwest corner of the hotel. But on the map above, the northwest corner of the hotel isn't on a main intersection and the only southeast corners are either the building towards the lower left of the map in the same block as the house with the yellow roof or in the block across the street from the top of the map. (You may be confused by my directions. If you are, it is probably because north is to the left on the map. It usually is in period maps of Paris. I don't know why, but by now I'm quite used to it.)

Now I had to find the actual location of the Hôtel d'Angoulême. I went to the French site for the rue Pavée and did some more reading. I learned that the Prison de la Petite-Force was more or less next to the mansion.With some more reading, I remembered that the Prison de la Petite-Force was once a
hôtel particulier--the Hôtel de la Force. I knew where that was on a couple of my Paris period maps. From some more reading about the rue Pavée I learned that another section of the same street was called the rue Payenne (Pagan Street). Going back to my period maps and using the new knowledge that the mansion was on the southeast corner of the intersection with the two mentioned streets, that it was adjacent to the Hôtel de la Force and that the rue Pavée turned into the  rue Payenne, I was able to find the house. Yeah!

Unfortunately the 3D perspective of my period maps kind of crapped out in this part of Paris. Here's what it looked like.
The Hôtel de la Force is the massive building towards the right with the blue roofs and the Hôtel d'Angoulême is in the same oddly shaped block. It is the building on the far left end of the block. Trust me when I say there is not much detail to be gleaned from this drawing and by comparison with other maps, both modern and ancien, the shape of the block is significantly distorted. The vertical dimensions are significantly compressed obscuring the buildings behind the Hôtel d'Angoulême as well as the fairly extensive gardens behind it and between it and the Hôtel de la Force.

I found a nice engraving of the mansion which, based on the age of the artist, can be placed near the middle of the 17th century. The view is of the garden side of the house, which, as we shall see, faces the east.
L'hostel d'Angoulesme du costé du Jardin by Israel Silvestre
You can also see that the garden behind the house looks to be at least the size of the main house and outbuildings. A fact that is not at all apparent on the map. I could have changed the location of the Hôtel d'Angoulême and used the map I first found. I did that with the Hôtel de Bellegarde so that I could use the nice set of floor plans from the Louis XIV era mansion that was used by the Bellegarde family. But one reason I'd done that with the Hôtel de Bellegarde was because I couldn't find the location or images of whatever Paris mansion they were using in the 1620s. And here I had just found the exact location and the mansion still exists today. 

So I decided to make my own floor plan. To do that I named the Google image of the hotel and ported that over to PowerPoint so I could draw rectangles for the buildings over the image to get approximately the right sizes and orientations. I made a few modifications to better align my floor plan with the engraving above and added a watchtower that my players and I could actually see on the plan. I found that drawing the rectangles was tricking since I kept grabbing the Google image instead. I could have used layers in GIMP, but I'm still not all that familiar with GIMP. So I cheated. I took the image and moved it to the Master Slide. That way is appears as the slide background and the damn thing doesn't move. Then I traced my buildings, added some rectangles of greenery for the garden, a tan pattern for the paths, and a gray pattern for the courtyard. 

One nice thing about using the Google Map is it comes with a scale. I first zoomed my map so I had a 50' interval. Using that I created my own scale in 10' increment. I used the 3D view in Google Maps to locate the doors off the interior courtyard, added a stair and an outbuilding like that in the engraving, drew in and labeled some streets and voila...

I'll do a follow up post where I show a map for my players that includes the garden sentry route and timings. 

EDIT: I updated the map after taking another look at the engraving and I also added a compass rose.

* There's not a lot of information about Henri. But I found this, 

Folie d'Henri d'Angoulême, Henri d'Angoulême, Comte de Lauraguais, est déshérité en 1609 et enfermé près de 50 ans pour cause de démence.
Which Google translated as: "Madness of Henri d'Angoulême, Henri d'Angoulême, Count of Lauraguais is disinherited in 1609 and imprisoned for nearly 50 years by reason of insanity."

I bent history a bit, by allowing Henri to still be running loose and the heir in 1624. But the chance to have a real mad villain who was the grandson of a King of France was just too good to pass up.